In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, which recognizes the risks of elder abuse and neglect of the elderly community, Minnwest Bank wants to remind our senior customers and their trusted caregivers to safeguard all personal information and stay alert to the common signs of financial abuse. Unfortunately, older Americans are increasingly becoming targets for fraud and financial exploitation. The American Banker Association (ABA) reports that an estimated 20% of American’s over the age of 65 (more than 7.3 million seniors) have been victimized by financial abuse.
By telling lies, making threats and using emotional manipulation, Fraudsters carry out their scams by targeting older Americans, typically because they have access to pensions, retirement accounts, social security payments as well as checking and savings accounts.
Safeguard your information
The best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones is to watch out for red flags and help them take proactive steps to safeguard their identity and assets. Here’s some tips:
- Keep personal information private. Never share your social security number, account information, or personal details over the phone or internet, unless you initiated contact with a trusted source.
- Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away so fraudsters can’t piece together your personal information.
- Never let a new or untrusted “advisor” pressure you into sharing personal or financial details. They could be a fraudster.
- Check your credit report at least once a year to ensure no new credit cards or accounts have been opened by criminals in your name.
- Register your phone number at the Do Not Call Registry to stop solicitation calls. Do not answer phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize. Instead, wait and check your voicemail.
For more fraud prevention tips, read National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: tips and tricks to protect yourself.
Protect yourself and your finances
Minnwest Bank will never call (or email) asking for your personal information or your log-in credentials. If you receive a text or an email telling you to follow a link and share this personal information, that’s a sign of a hoax. Never click on these links. Access your account only through your app or a browser. If you think you or a loved one was the victim of a financial scam, call law enforcement and your community banker immediately.